Royals drop another to the D-Rays, pleasing all 12 fans at "the Trop"

Where to start? The Royals lost again to the Devil Rays in their race for the league's worst record. It wasn't a terrible game, but the D-Rays' four runs in the first inning, combined with Casey Fossum's stellar pitching, made the night very frustrating for the boys in blue. D.J. Carrasco battled after giving up the four earned runs in the first, going six innings without yielding any further damage. It was a gusty performance by Carrasco, as he clearly didn't have his best stuff or control. We were worried it would be a short night for him, but he kept the Royals in the game.

Offensively, it was a tough night for the Royals. Fossum brought his 'A' game, and the Royals could do little against him. David DeJesus had a nice night, as did Emil Brown, but the rest of the team looked pretty helpless.

Tomorrow night the Royals send Zack Greinke to the mound against Doug Waechter. RC has a very good feeling about this matchup, as Greinke will offer a different look than Kyle Snyder and Carrasco, two pitchers the D-Rays have hit well. And we don't anticipate the offense having much trouble with Waechter.

  • Before the game, RSTN showed an interview with Guy Hansen, in which he said something very interesting. Hansen is clearly lobbying for Denny Bautista to become a reliever upon his return, arguing that his stuff is perfect for the bullpen, and that he could be a dominating pitcher in relief. RC isn't sure what to think about this.

    Prior to the season, we were shouting from the rooftops that Bautista could be the next K-Rod, but we quickly shut up when we saw his first start against the Angels (8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K). Of course, that performance stands out not only for its brilliance, but also for its uniqueness. In his next six starts, before his injury, Bautista didn't even come close to showing us that dominant form again.

    Maybe Hansen is onto something, but we're worried the Royals may move Bautista to the bullpen too quickly. We still have dreams of Denny becoming an ace starting pitcher, because we know he has the stuff to do so. We suppose the question is whether or not he has the stamina to start, but we just don't think there's yet enough evidence to indicate he doesn't. Right now, RC wants to see Bautista starting. There's plenty of time to turn him into a reliever if the results warrant it.

  • RC suspects some shenanigans took place today on our official poll, as Luis Cota made a serious move to overtake Chris Lubanski as your choice for RC's fifth-best Royals prospect. However, it was too little too late, as Lubanski still won by 10 votes out of 133. RC welcomes Luby to our list, and we hope that he's able to stay there. Our standards are pretty high, and we can already see some lower-level prospects begin to push their way into consideration.

  • Of course, Gary Perez is one of those prospects we're talking about. We did a quick profile of him last week, and since that time, Perez has gotten even hotter! Here's the log from his last nine games:

    Gary PerezABH2B3BHRRBIBB
    July 29
    July 28
    July 27
    July 26
    July 25
    July 24
    July 23
    July 22
    July 21

    In the last nine games, Perez has a line of .576/.600/1.000, pushing his overall numbers to .363/.464/.565. RC is starting to get pretty excited about this guy.

  • Another guy at Idaho Falls we're starting to pay some attention to is catcher Jeffrey Howell. A 10th round pick in June, Howell is splitting time with fellow catcher and 2005 draftee Kiel Thibault. Howell has been pretty hot lately, pushing his line to .359/.423/.484 in 64 at bats. Looking at his scouting video, you can see that Howell is a big guy with an interesting swing. He doesn't take a stride, but instead uses his hips and torso to drive the bat through the hitting zone. Howell hasn't hit with much power thus far, but he clearly has the size (6-foot, 200 lbs.) to do so. He could ultimately be a scrub, but he's done pretty well so far, so we'll be paying more attention to him.

  • The KC Star yesterday reported that shortstop Jeffrey Bianchi "is ready" to return to the Arizona Royals' lineup any day now, after his "mild" back strain. It's about time, because we missed the joy we used to receive by checking out the box score and seeing his absurdly good stats. At press time, Arizona's box score was not updated, so we don't know if Bianchi was in the lineup tonight.

  • The Royals finally followed through with their promised promotion of Justin Huber to Omaha. However, instead of the extensive minor league reshuffling we had anticipated, the Royals simply cleared room for Huber by sending Cory Aldridge back to Wichita. We had expected to see Billy Butler and perhaps Kila Kaaihue get the callup to AA in conjunction with Huber's promotion, but that hasn't happened yet, and Aldridge's demotion indicates to us that it probably won't. We still expect to see Butler in Wichita within a month, but he might be the only Maverick to get the call.

    As for Huber, his first game in Omaha definitely could have gone better, as he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. But hey, at least we now have a reason to check the O-Royals' box score every night.

    At 7/30/2005 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It said in the KC Star today that Butler is expected to get the call to Wichita within a couple of days. I am anxious to see how he does against this better pitching.

    At 7/30/2005 1:58 PM, Blogger ME said...

    How old is Perez? I'm wondering if maybe he shouldn't be facing some stiffer competetion.

    At 7/30/2005 2:47 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Rush, Perez is 21 right now, and he turns 22 in September. Age-wise he's basically the equivalent of someone drafted after their junior season in college, so he's right on track in Idaho Falls.

    Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see him move quickly through the organization if he continues putting up numbers like this. He shouldn't have any trouble leap-frogging the guys ahead of him in the low-minors, like Angel Sanchez, Geraldo Valentin, Irving Falu, and Ed Lucas.

    In fact, his biggest competition right now at SS is teammate Chris McConnell, who's also had a fine season, even though he's been struggling lately.

    As I wrote a while back, the Royals official I spoke with said that Perez is still considered a shortstop, even the McConnell gets the vast majority of innings there in Idaho.


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